November 12th, 2013
Sam (1926-2009), born on Armistice Day, would have been 87 today. Raised in South Africa with incredibly humble roots, his many talents found a spiritual home in photography. And, his creative abode welcomed him and recognised his ground breaking contributions across a broad spectrum of creative photography. As he himself said “photography has been very good to me”. His input was huge and without doubt the greatest payback is the pervasive influence that he has had on the profession for over half a century.
Here are some portraits of Sam over the years.
Fun Self Portrait in Chelsea studio, London c1970
Sam on a visit to Tokyo c1980. Photo Credit: Unknown.
Sam by Abby Ross. Taken at the ‘Fashion Etcetera’ exhibition in NY, 2009, a week after Sam’s stroke and a few weeks before his death.
September 29th, 2013
Alexa Chung has long been a fan of Gill from Sam’s first groundbreaking book ‘Five Girls’ published in 1962. In particular the shots of Gill sitting on the floor in black over-the-knee socks
In August 2007, plans were announced for Alex Turner to record an album with Miles Kane, James Ford and Owen Pallett. This new side group was named The Shadow Puppets. A month or two before this announcement Alexa and Alex started dating, a relationship that lasted until mid 2011. Alexa it turns out was responsible for suggesting the image of Gill on the cover of the album.
The Age of the Understatement, was released on 21 April 2008 and reached number one in its first week. The resultant publicity caused some online speculation about the identity of the model. Gill, is alive and well, a painter and a grandmother living with family in South Africa. At the time she was an art student with no modelling experience who just turned out to be a natural in front of the camera.
Alexa now has a print of Gill in her black socks/stockings in her home and featured a variant of the shot (the first image in this post) in her book ‘IT’, to decorate a chapter discussing underwear choices. The book launched this month just as the October issue of British Vogue hit the book shelves with, Alexa on the cover. Nice timing.
Alexa’s quirky. eclectic wardrobe, infused with good taste and her sexy girl-next-door image is an excellent fit with the aesthetic values from Sam’s black and white work in the 60′s. We are happy to have her as a fan.
July 25th, 2013
Among many other things Sam had a lifelong passion for typography and from time-to-time included type in his work, especially in November Girl with photographs taken in the streets and docks of Cape Town.
July 21st, 2013
A fan has just sent me this scan from an editorial shot by Sam for Playboys August 1963 edition. I don’t have this issue in the estate archive but I immediately sourced a copy on eBay which is on its way to me. The shoot is dedicated to Gill, the star of Five Girls (1962).
The cover, a photograph of Nancy Perry by Stan Malinowski, is reproduced below. What confident fun they had with covers in those days.
After seeing Gill in a dummy of ‘Five Girls’, presented at the Playboy offices in 1962, they tried to get an exclusive on a book dedicated to Gill, a proposal which Alida turned down. Which didn’t stop them from asking her to wait outside for a while while they ‘shared’ the book with colleagues. Ten minutes later a photographer arrived at the door, out of breath and burdened by kit saying “where is the book that I have to copy”?